Bedtime. It’s equally my most favorite and dreaded part of the day. While the kisses and snuggles definitely outweigh the demands for another story, a glass of water, or the need to discuss world politics (mostly kidding), creating a calm and soothing environment is one way to ensure your kids get a good night’s sleep.
I’ve been very fortunate to have good sleepers, but I know that for many parents, this can be a struggle. Research shows that sleep helps kids focus, impacts their moods, and helps them stay healthy. There are a ton of resources available, from books and sound machines to supplements and specialists.
Here are six easy ways to help your kids sleep through the night.
1. Stay Consistent With Bedtime Routines
Creating and maintaining good sleep habits for your kids starts with establishing a bedtime routine so they can fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling well rested. Sleep is imperative to your kids’ growth and development, so make sure your kids are consistently getting the recommended amount of sleep each night.
2. Set Clear Expectations
It’s important that you communicate your expectations and follow through with bedtime routines. With three kids, I’ve had to limit my time with each one so I’m not spending hours getting everyone to sleep. We try to talk about all the important things at the dinner table and squeeze in some one-on-one time throughout the day so there aren’t any major announcements, issues, or concerns when it’s time to go to sleep! (Avoid things like, “Mom, I have to make a solar system out of clay by tomorrow!”)
3. Turn Off Electronics
Light from tablets, smartphones, and computers can stimulate the brain and make kids have a harder time falling asleep. Experts say that it’s a good idea to have a screen curfew and shut down devices a few hours before bedtime to allow your kids time to settle down and get sleepy. This is good advice for parents, too!
4. Encourage More Physical Activity
When your kids are active during the day, they’ll not only be healthier but also more likely to sleep better at night. Research shows that kids and teens should get 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. This could include an organized sport like soccer or basketball, riding bikes, or playing at the park.
5. Maintain a Good Diet
Filling your kids up on junk food is never a good idea, especially right before bed. Tummy aches from processed treats could lead to more wake-ups in the middle of the night. Instead, skip the heavy desserts after dinner and opt for something lighter like fresh fruit or low-fat yogurt. Another great option is IsaKids® Super Smoothie, a delicious and nutritious snack.
6. Seek Support
If you have any concerns about your child’s sleeping patterns, talk to your pediatrician or consult with a sleep expert. While kids can grow out of certain habits, it’s a good idea to identify any problems early to obtain treatment and support. A sleep study is a great way to gain more insight into your child’s sleeping patterns.